When I was fourteen I became an arms dealer, of sorts

PROMPT #5: Discuss an accomplishment or event, formal or informal, that marked your transition from childhood to adulthood within your culture, community, or family.


When I was fourteen I became an arms dealer, of sorts.

While other kids played video games, I inadvertently started a business. It began when my overprotective mother refused to let me and my brother have the Nerf guns that were so popular at the time. After much “discussion,” I finally convinced my mother get me the foam dart gun I longed for.

Unfortunately, as anyone who has picked up a Nerf gun can tell you, they are disappointing because they are horribly underpowered. But disappointment can be the mother of invention. Unbeknownst to me, the eleven-dollar toy gun that hardly shot across my room would inspire my love of designing, building, and ultimately selling my creations.

It didn't take long until I was wielding a screwdriver, tearing apart the shell of the frustrating little toy. I soon discovered why my plastic gun was so lackluster. The internal plunger-like piston was configured with dead space that wasted the vast majority of the tiny gun’s potential force: the plunger was not optimized for the barrel. My motivation became to improve the gun’s design. Using the basic volume and pressure formulas that I researched on the Internet, I was able to lengthen the plunger stroke for maximum compression, which, after a bit...

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